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EXETER NEWSLETTER | MARCH | 2013

Hi all, we had a bright sunny day at last! Yes, it was a beautiful sunny day for John and Gavin’s Sunday Outing on February 17. Eight MGs and several other sundry Euroboxes, oh yes and a rather burbly TVR, turned up at Moto for our monthly run. It was nice to see the sun and several MGs had the hoods down. Our organisers had arranged a run to Castle Drogo where we gathered

Did you know? The MG Owners Club is marking its 40th birthday this year! See Page 5 of this newsletter to see how it’s celebrating the big four-oh! As well as national Owners Club regalia, you can buy special Exeter MGOC items. See page 5 for ideas on what you can get. If you’re looking for a replacement or even an extra classic MG, classified ads are now available on the MGOC website MG has launched into the business sector with the DTi-TECH diesel MG6, from £210 a month +VAT.

MG C n Sun shines on our run

Secretary’s report By Roger Mayo

n Moor 2 Sea latest for a natter. The assembled group decided it was too cold for castle visiting and made off to the local hostelry, The Drewe Arms in the village where drinks and lunch were the order of the day. A very good Sunday social and like I said in my e-alert it was nice to see some people and their cars out getting an airing. We don’t do it often enough. Thanks to John, assisted by Gavin and Sue. We have received a tremendous response to Moor 2 Sea 2013, (we must be doing something right!) Bookings at the end of February are approaching 80, almost our manageable number, so there are only a few places left. If you want to join in your club’s major event of the year and probably the largest MG gathering in Devon, contact Roger Luscombe PDQ. This year’s event will start with a social gathering on the Saturday night for those who have booked for the main event. We are hoping to organise some entertainment so it should be a good night. The Sunday will comprise of 100-mile run around Continued on page 2

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n Appeal for marshals n Drive it Day looms n Plea for raffle prizes


NEWSLETTER | MARCH | 2013

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From page 1

the good bits of our county from MOOR 2 SEA with some games and fun thrown in en-route, finishing with a raffle and a traditional Devon cream tea on the edge of the moor. It should be another great occasion and in May nature will be blooming so we just need the sunshine to make it perfect. Roger is looking for four more marshals for parking, games etc. so contact him if you think you can help. The rally will be at cost to marshals (£15) unless you don’t want the rally plaque, route details, coffee and biscuits, cream tea and goody bag, where there will be no cost at all and you will be helping to raise money for the Devon Air Ambulance.

We are currently looking for raffle prizes for our Moor 2 Sea event. If you would like to donate a prize, please bring to club night, or if it’s too large, heavy or valuable we will collect it! Thanks in advance. Just a note on Poltimore and Powderham, Poltimore first on April 21, Drive It Day. Graham Booker is organising this one so names to either Graham or myself (I’ll pass them on) and £5.50 per car to Pat, our treasurer to book for the Classic Car display at Poltimore. If there is sufficient numbers, we will have our stand there. Now Powderham, £5 per car as last year. Peter Groves is collecting names so let him know if you are going (or : Due to lack of interest our myself and I’ll pass it on) and £5 to Spring Weekend away to Wales has Pat for your entry fee. had to be cancelled, which is a pity as Paul Wooster has put a lot of work We must have names and payment into this event. for Poltimore by the end of March Your secretary wishes to thank Paul because that’s when payment is due. for his efforts and apologises for lack

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of interest by the members. We will have another go at a weekend away in the autumn. That’s all for now, see you at Nic and Lynne’s Run on the 17th (see diary for details).


NEWSLETTER | MARCH| 2013

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NEWSLETTER | MARCH | 2013

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DIARY DATES MARCH

APRIL JUNE

JULY MAY

AUGUST-NOV

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NEWSLETTER | MARCH | 2013

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Points of interest Celebrating 40 years of the MG Owners’ Club In 2013 the MGOC will mark another milestone in the Club’s history as we celebrate 40 years of serving our valued Members. The MG Owners’ Club was formed in 1973 to serve the growing needs of the MG sports car enthusiast. Over the last 40 years the MGOC has concentrated on making it easier, cheaper and more enjoyable to own an MG. Our vast membership base has helped earn us the reputation of being the World's largest single marque car club.

Roger has come up with a cunning plan to cope if Woodbury gets hit by flooding…

Contact details Chairman & Events Co-Ordinator: Roger Luscombe 01392 495757 rogerlus@talktalk.net Area Secretary: Roger Mayo 01395 233848 roger.mayo1@mypostoffice.co.uk Treasurer: Pat Mayo 01395 233848 roger.mayo1@mypostoffice.co.uk Editor: Andrew Howard 01392 670421 mg@lakesidemedia.co.uk Membership Secretary: Aly Howard 01392 670421 mg@lakesidemedia.co.uk Social Secetary, Regalia & Archives: Paul Wooster 01395 514446 bp@bpwooster.eclipse.co.uk Committee Members: Peter & Sharon Groves 01392 661470 petersharon@blueyonder.co.uk Committee Member: Alan Gill 01837 83326 alan99gill@yahoo.co.uk Committee Member: Jennie Gill 01837 83326 jennie.mg72@yahoo.co.uk

Exeter club regalia CLUB BASEBALL CAPS

£ 6.00

LAPEL BUTTON BADGES

£ 3.00

METAL EXETER MGOC LOGO BADGES

£1.00

SPARE WINDSCREEN STICKERS MANY OTHER ARTICLES AVAILABLE, JUST ASK. Please order any item from

Email alerts

£1.00

Why not celebrate with us at the MGOC Birthday Party in Swavesey on 13th - 14th July when a huge MG gathering will take place in the showground adjacent to the MGOC HQ. MG displays will be held in the arena and big top marquee along with gymkhana and driving test events. The showground has ample parking and room for camping on Saturday night so why not bring your tent or camper van and stay for the weekend or stay locally in an hotel or B&B. Next to the Club HQ is the guided bus way to Cambridge so on Saturday you can hop on a guided bus to visit this historic university city, stroll around the colleges, visit the shopping centres or hire a punt on the river Cam. Take a step back in time for a traditional MGOC weekend bash with live entertainment and bar on Saturday night as we celebrate forty years of enjoying our MGs. Sunday will be the main event and feature MG concours, driving tests, vehicle displays, trade stands, autojumble and tours of the MGOC HQ, while the MGOC Spares Department, MGOC Shop and Workshop will be open all weekend. There will be presentations and practical demonstrations as well as sideshows and fun activities for all the family.


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GUIDE TO THE MGF Roger Mayo has sourced this useful guide for anyone thinking of indulging in an MGF. Part two follows next month… Being as the MGF (and later the TF too) was the UK’s best selling two-seat sports car year on year during its production years that says that many of the stories and one line derogatory comments in reviews and buyers guides can be misleading. Available from September 1995 with just the 1.8i 120ps (118bhp) K series 1.8 litre engine and five speed manual PG1 series gearbox. Then in February 1996 a higher performance and better equipped VVC model arrived with the same basic engine but with a clever variable valve control (hence VVC) on the inlet valves. This raised power output by 25bhp and whilst this was mainly in the upper third of the rpm range the gearing was lowered by 10% to allow this model to be able to show a marked improvement in performance. Importantly there was only a very small difference in fuel economy, which was already an MGF strong point. July 1999 saw the first big model changes with the introduction of the 2000 MY (model year) cars with restyled interior, some exterior features (clear indicators and new wheel styles) and the introduction of the Steptronic (Auto) model (later called Stepspeed after BMW sold Rover and took the name with them.) This auto model was a clever amalgam of CV gearbox and ECU control, which allowed a manual mode to include six locked ratios, rather than the constantly variable operation, so it provided a feel of a manual that could be changed at the flick of a steering wheel button or the floor change to imitate a ‘flappy paddle’ change associated with F1 at that time, and more common on high end sports cars today.

This was reasonably effective and had none of the rough crudity that is often seen with some of the genuine ‘flappy paddle’ controlled gearboxes. However, with limited power and greater absorption of that power in the gearbox, the effect was at times little more than a ‘volume control’! The resulting fuel economy loss is around 10% worse and CO2 emission 13% worse than the manual is telling and reflected in the low sales rate. Early 2001 then saw the first real expansion of the MGF range, now under the control of MG Rover, with an entry level model called 1.6i, with unsurprisingly a 1.6 litre K series engine and slightly less equipment than the 1.8i model. Then at the top of the range was the Trophy 160SE model, which saw more significant changes with a very much stiffer suspension, huge front brakes with AP racing four pot calipers (no ABS option though), a tuned VVC engine delivering 160ps (158bhp), new alloys and eye catching exterior colours. MGF production finished at the end of 2001 after over 77500 cars had been made and then the TF arrived in January

2002 with a four model line up, 115 (115ps 1.6 litre), 120 Stepspeed (120ps 1.8 litre with auto), 135 (136ps 1.8 litre) with a new tune level giving the higher power, close to the former VVC MGF models power. At the top of the range is the 160 model, which uses a refined version of the tune that was first seen on the MGF Trophy 160 VVC engine spec and delivering the same 160ps (158bhp). Model similarities between TF and MGF mean that many of the developments seen on the TF can, and are, applied to earlier MGFs by their owners mostly to good effect, and that can sometime generate some mixed up descriptions in adverts and also cars displaying different things that were not current when the car was originally made. Original MGF 1.8i came with a basic cloth trim inside and the VVC came with a half leather trim. Both models could take advantage of a wide range of alternative leather trims and very many cars were so equipped so it is often possible to find a much better specified 1.8i than a VVC. This could also include mechanical options


NEWSLETTER | MARCH | 2013

as the 1.8i didn’t gain Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) as a standard fit until the start of the 1998 model year in 1997. Before then it was an extra cost option that many paid extra for, just as applied to ABS on these models. It is worth noting that EPAS has in recent years become a feature more and more manufacturers have added and spotlighted as being economy and CO2 reducing options, yet MGF had it in 1995! Alloy wheels were standard on all models for all years. Up to mid 1999 when the face lifted 2000 model year cars arrived. Two wheel designs, both 15” diameter, with a 6” width were used; a six spoke for the 1.8i and a 5 spoke style for the VVC. Optional 16” wheels originally arrived with the Abingdon LE model and come in a 6 spoke design similar to the base 1.8i. Then in 1999 the 75th Anniversary models introduced the ‘Multispoke’ design, which looks just like the title indicates. Shortly after the 2000 model year changes arrived, and with it a change of base 15” wheel style to an 8 rounded spoke design, so like the original 1.8i wheel, but with eight spokes instead of 6. There was also a new square six spoke design in 15” diameter that was specific to the new Steptronic model, and a visually very similar new style in 16” diameter for the VVC model. The two other previous 16” option wheels remained available. Whilst wheels fitted to an individual car were always the same size front and rear,

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the tyres fitted were different between front and rear axles. With the 15” wheels the tyre sizes are 185/55x15 front and 205/50x15 rear. When 16” wheels are used they are 7” wide and have 215/40x16 tyres all round, until 2001 when the Trophy 160 model introduced 195/45x16 tyres up front and 215/40x16 tyres at the rear fitted to a new 11 spoke style of alloy. There are specific tyre concerns to make a note of which I cover later. Brakes on all MGFs were the same with 240mm vented discs clamped by slider calipers up front and 240mm diameter solid discs at the rear clamped by a slider caliper that also contained the handbrake. ABS was standard on the VVC models and optional on all others, although one notable exception was the 2001 Trophy 160 SE. The Trophy 160 was a hard edged limited edition model focused on track day performance and the brakes were very different with the front discs being 304mm diameter discs clamped by bright red AP Racing four pot (piston) calipers with very bolt MG branding. These models also did NOT have the option of ABS.

) and here the main issue is that as a

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mid engined car set up to give great grip and handling, any deficiencies in the tyres fitted have a much greater impact on the car. and any car so fitted may fall very short in the driving experience and pleasure mode so do always check what tyres are fitted on any car being test driven. Note specifically that instability starts from around 50 to 55mph and the faster you go the worse the feeling is and this feeling does have some similarities to suffering a seriously under inflated tyre. In addition cars with 16” wheels are more sensitive than those with 15” wheels and there is only one approved tyre for all the MGF and TF models running 16” wheels, That highthe Goodyear Eagle F1 lighting the GSD2 is critical as these tyres have been thin on the ground during occasionally over the last few years relating to Goodyear batch production methods. The Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3 replaced the GSD2 in most mainstream applications when MG Rover were still trading, and the problems some owners had led to a Technical Bulletin being issued to categorically tell dealers to tell owners NOT to use GSD3 tyres.

Next month: More MGF information


NEWSLETTER | MARCH | 2013

FROM THE ARCHIVES Enough of the modern stuff, we’ve again been scouring the internet for all things MG-related. Here are some pre-war MGs in all their glory, and, just like on our February run, there’s a non-MG that’s sneaked in. Can you name the cars? Answers on the next page!

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NEWSLETTER | MARCH | 2013

SPRING CLEANING Fans of the TV programme Wheeler Dealers may have come across TerraClean. It was featured in an episode last year, and now the show’s Edd China is endorsing the system. But what is it, and how does it work? Basically it’s a system for decarbonising your engine, in effect a hitech decoking, but you don’t have to start taking your motor to pieces, and the whole process takes less than an hour. It works by shutting off your petrol supply and running your engine off the contents of two aerosol cans – one to clean the injectors, the other the rest of the fuel system. It claims to give lower emissions and better fuel consumption on older engines. As far as I know, it only works on relatively modern motors, those with fuel injection, but there is also a diesel version. I tracked down the nearest TerraClean provider to Exeter, which turns out to be Greenland Head Garage at Pennymoor near Cruwys Morchard. I was quoted £90 plus VAT for a two-litre vehicle, £80 plus VAT for smaller ones. Our MGF is a 1.8 litre, but we opted for the two-litre package for a longer treatment.

fuel cut-off switch and job done. Attempting to start the car at this point proved all was well. So a couple of pipes were pulled off the engine, and a couple of others attached to the TerraClean machine put in their place. The system was pumped up to about 30psi (it’s Canadian so uses Imperial measures) to ensure a good fuel feed, and away we go.

The guys at the garage hadn’t seen an F for a while – this was apparent when they peered under the steering wheel to try to open the bonnet to find the engine.

The first thing that happened was that a lot of brown smoke came out of the exhaust pipes. After about 10 minutes or so this cleared a bit, and after about another 10 minutes or so that was the injectors cleaned out, apparently.

Once I’d stopped laughing and helped them find the said 1.8-litre, they were pleased to see it was a pretty standard Rover K-series, in VVC form, although from their point of view it appeared to be laid out in the wrong direction.

We let the F cool down a bit, for some reason the cooling fans hadn’t come on and it had just been sat at low-ish revs for a while without moving. Better safe than sorry. Then it was on to stage two and the cleaning out of the rest of the system.

That said, access for the TerraClean system was pretty straightforward as the fuel system is relatively easy to get to – in fact they said it was one of the easiest they’d come across.

This time not much was coming our of the exhaust, and the mechanic said that by the end of the process it would just be water vapour. I wasn’t feeling brave or stupid enough to put this to the test.

First step is to remove the fuel filler cap to relieve pressure on the system, then work out a way to turn off the fuel pump. We did this by disconnecting the

So what’s the result? Firstly, with its custom-built stainless steel exhaust the F used to burble and pop a fair bit, but now the popping has just about stopped.

From the Archives answers

A bit of a shame aurally, but it does indicate the fuel is actually burning where it should, in the heart of the engine and not afterwards! The engine is also certainly much more responsive to the throttle, and generally seems a bit quieter. As to fuel economy, I came back to Exeter via Tiverton, the link road and the M5 and the gauge barely moved – an encouraging sign. Back home I took a white tissue and held it right up against first one, then the other, exhaust pipe for a quite a few seconds. It came away as clean as when it started, so that’s another encouraging sign. We’re planning a longer trip soon, up to Shropshire and back, so should be able to give a more definitive report on smoothness, acceleration and economy at a later date. Those of you with more modern motors might want to give it a try too. Just to say I have no involvement whatsoever with TerraClean, Greenland Head Garage or anyone connected to either in any way. I’m just a so-far satisfied customer. The garage can be contacted on 01363 866770. For more on TerraClean, see the website http://www.terraclean.co.uk/.

Andrew Howard

March newsletter  

News from the Exeter MG Owners Club